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According to a Brightedge study from 2019, 53% of trackable web traffic stems from organic search results. Compare that to only 15% for paid search traffic, and you begin to see why search-engine optimization (SEO) is so important. SEO isn’t just a traffic driver though. The main KPI for SEO may be an increase in organic-search volume, and subsequent leads and customers from that channel, but it has benefits for other marketing channels too — and for your larger brand. For instance, the more organic-search traffic you drive, the more folks you can retarget. That means you can leverage your paid digital channels to help move folks through a funnel, rather than get them in the net in the first place. You can also reduce your paid digital spend and blended customer-acquisition cost (CAC) with great organic search rankings. If your organic content ranks high on page one for a key term, you might not care as much about search-engine marketing (SEM) on that keyword. After all, why pay for the click on the ad when you can organically earn it just below? Of course, SEO’s brand value is far larger than the paid digital CAC reduction. Great SEO can build a moat around your brand, making it so that every time someone Googles a word related to your industry, you show up in one way or another. You’re offering advice, education, courses, newsletters, webinars –– anything to help that searcher find his or her answer. And, in the case the solution to the issue is hard to execute — well your company is there to help. This sort of leverage puts you years ahead of competition when you start to build it early. Yes, it takes time to pay off. How long? Well, typically at least six months to begin to see results if you are just getting started. It’ll take longer for the SEO flywheel to really take hold. Some brands ignore SEO because of the long wait for ROI. But they shouldn’t. Even a small amount of monthly SEO work can have drastic benefits down the line. Related: 4 Steps to Grow Your Organic Search TrafficHere are three easy things you can do to slowly optimize for search –– starting now. 1. Publish one blog post per month There are a lot of content marketers and SEO experts out there who will sell you on a massive content marketing and SEO plan. In this plan, you might publish two to five blog posts per week –– and pay a lot to do so. It doesn’t have to be that way. Instead, you can start by publishing just one piece of content a month. Here is what you do.Gather your most frequently asked questions from customers (or ask customers what questions they had before or after buying if you don’t already have these handy). Make a list of those questions. The answers to these will now be the blog posts you write for the next year. Search Reddit, Quora and Google to see how other people have answered similar questions and how those audiences are responding. Now, use your own expertise to record an answer. Seriously, just talk into the mic on your phone. Download that audio and pop it into a transcription service. There are several on the web that will translate for $1 per minute. Edit the article or feed it to an AI copy tool that will clean it up a bit for you (and likely even expand on it!). Publish it on your site with a short URL, something like: www.yourwebsite.com/blog/how-to-solve-this-issue. Replace “How to solve this issue” with the question or problem at hand. Add that article to your product pages and emails. Rinse and repeat with new questions every month. Not every business is big enough just yet to invest a ton of time and money into SEO. This will help you build a foundation as you grow. 2. Build a backlink profile Backlinks help search engines understand your site’s credibility. When you first launch your site, you’ll have no backlinks, and that makes your website look untrustworthy to Google’s algorithmic robots. This is why so many people buy existing domains when they launch their business. The older a website is, the more likely it is to have a good backlink profile (or at least a backlink profile to speak of at all). That’s valuable, because backlink profiles –– which affect your domain ranking –– can take a while to build. But never fear! You can build your own backlink profile too. Here’s how. Respond to relevant questions and conversions in Reddit, Quora, etc. Give your advice and insight away for free and add a link in there back to those articles you’ve been publishing when relevant. Turn your articles into videos and post them on YouTube. YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine, and you can backlink to your article in the video description. Use Help a Reporter Out or Help a B2B Writer. These daily emails ask you for insight on topics on which you are an expert. Simply respond, and you can get coverage and a backlink in sites across the web. Choose a social-media channel and post on it regularly. Work to build a community. This is great for your business, but also your backlink profile since social-media sites have high domain ranking. These are low-hanging fruit opportunities, and they won’t make a huge dent immediately. Over time, though, these backlinks add up, putting you in a far better SEO position than if you did nothing. Related: Is Your Organic Traffic Falling? Here’s What to Do.3. Hire hourly SEO expert helpAll right — your company might not be in the position to hire someone full time for SEO work. You might not even be able to afford an agency, many of which start at $10,000 a month. But you might be able to afford $1,500 a month to have an SEO expert take care of all the above for you and more. What more would they do?Keyword research: This can help you build a stronger strategy around the monthly articles you write over the next year — so they’re optimized for keywords that your site can rank for in the near future, not highly competitive keywords from which you’ll see no returns anytime soon. Backlink profile building: Beyond those free tools above, SEO experts often have existing relationships with external sites, affiliates and more to help drive backlinks faster. Website audit: A key part of SEO is a website’s UX, including site speed and internal site linking. SEO experts know how to audit sites and identify updates that can improve UX and drive more organic-search traffic.There are a lot of options when it comes to SEO. As with everything, different approaches will work for different businesses. Ignoring SEO, though, is a big mistake. Small, iterative improvements add up –– and in a couple years, you’ll wish you would have taken those small steps today.Related: 5 Ways Businesses Can Get Traffic and Generate Leads